Chef’s special: Gary Leishman

Gary Leishman, Head chef, Carberry Tower, Musselburgh


Dating from the 15th century, Carberry Tower is a 30-bedroom hotel set in 35 acres on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Its seasonal menus major in produce sourced from local farms and markets, including fresh venison and game from the Carberry Tower Estate to the rear of the hotel.

How long have you been in the catering business?
20 years. Like most chefs I started as a KP while still at school.

What’s your career highlight so far?
Being appointed head chef at Carberry Tower and given the responsibility of turning Carberry Tower into a fine dining destination and really putting it on the map.

How would you describe your food?
Modern British with seasonally sourced local produce.

What’s the price of a typical three course meal (without wine)?

Why should someone visit your restaurant?
For a fine dining experience cooked with passion and flare in beautiful historic and traditional surroundings.

Describe your staff
Passionate, hardworking and dedicated.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
Spaghetti carbonara, with homemade pasta of course.

Is there any food you dislike?
Cold savoury rice.

What is your favourite wine?
Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay.

Which is your favourite Scottish restaurant?
Castle Terrace, Edinburgh.

What’s your favourite Scottish ingredient?
After spending the last nine years working at Ackergill Tower in the Highlands it has to be the hand-dived scallops from Orkney.

What makes a good chef?
A good palate, a keen willingness to learn, hard work and being able to take criticism on the chin.

What’s a tip every chef should know?
It doesn’t matter what you are cooking, always make sure you do it to the best of your ability.

Who do you admire in the industry and why?
The late Keith Floyd – he was passionate about what he did and was a true character.

How do you relax outside of work?
Spending time with my family and the occasional round of golf.

Who would you invite for your ideal meal and where would you go?
My family – we don’t get to spend much time together unfortunately – at The Square, London.

What makes you laugh in the kitchen?
Usually football banter.